Friday, April 30, 2010

It's Friday

The weekend has crept up on me again and it's already friday! Normally I spend part of Saturday at the studio, catching up on work from the previous week, but last weekend I was at Blim on Sunday too, so this weekend I'm going to try to be at 'home'.  I'll be trying to get back my bike legs again and if the weather holds out I'll get most of our little garden in- (must plant potatoes...).  There's 'Got Craft?' on Sunday and I think the Blim grand opening on Saturday.  A skate comp and hockey fundraiser that Dean is running for his work will make our weekend a little on the busy side! 

Dean and I are going on a date for the first time in a month- we're off to see our friend Jay's grad show from Photography at Langara and then to the new Ten Sun's CD release party.  Not quite a 'romantic' night for 2, but it should be fun to catch up with people sans kids!  I hope your  weekend goes well and thanks for coming by!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Project Empty Bowls

Silent Auction season is among us and I've been sifting through my emails to decide which causes I want to support.  Every year I usually pick a handful of fundraisers, hopefully spreading out the time-frame so they aren't all in the same month.  As much as these events can be a 'business' exposure thing, I would way rather think of them as just doing my part the best I know how.  Hopefully whoever goes home with a piece that I've created will be reminded to give and give generously to the needs of others both locally and globally. 

I first heard about Project Empty Bowls back in my art school days when all us ceramic students got together once a year to throw and glaze a bunch of bowls to donate to this fundraiser.  Within the last few years I've once again had the opportunity to be involved.  A Loving Spoonful provides free meals for people living with HIV/AIDS in the Greater Vancouver area.  The fundraiser is an annual event that potters in BC have been involved with since it started. A really simple concept of Soup and a handmade bowl in exchange for a donation was started by a high school art teacher who had his students make bowls for the event. Since then many of the potters I know have generously donated their hand-made bowls year after year.

leaving home, going home

Back when I transferred into Art School as a 3rd year student, one of my first people I met was Disa.  She was taking both ceramics and painting (just like me) and we instantly connected over similar aesthetics and interests.  That was about 12 years ago now, and despite Disa moving back to her hometown of Toronto and then back to Vancouver to do an intensive Graphic Design program, Disa and I have stayed good friends.  Today she and her partner are headed back to Toronto, this time for good, and as sad as I am to say goodbye, I know that we'll have lots of visits between us still to come. 

Last fall Disa and I started talking about working on a collaborative project that we could do together in my studio before she moved back to Toronto.  We had long conversations late into the night over drinks discussing trends, ideas, product design, and ceramics.  In February we had our first studio session and we did some wheel-throwing, worked on some tiles, and then came up with these slab-built vase forms with our own cut out designs that we pressed/rolled into the clay multiple times to make a pattern.  We both felt like these were the direction we needed to go in for our studio sessions together and our excitement about the vases built.  Working in the studio together on these spurred on the idea of opening an online shop of our collaborative, one of a kind vases.  (Coming soon!)

Today Disa is leaving home and going home all in the same day.  I'm thinking of her as she says goodbye to a city she has lived in for over 10 years.  It's going to feel lonely without her around...

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

A post without pictures...

I'm not sure about you but blogger seems to have a new system for uploading images and mine's not working. Technical assistance, anyone?

A little up-date on the Wedding Magazine shoot and my cake stands... thankfully all went extremely well and the only 'glitch' was that whoever made the cake didn't quite take the theme or colours into consideration! Thankfully they found other ways to use the cake/cupcake stands! I might even get a glimpse later today...

Here's off to a busy Wednesday!  For those of you in Toronto I'm shipping off a pretty large order of new work for the Gardiner Museum Gift Shop today, and for those of you in Vancouver, the Gallery of BC Ceramics will finally get some work! And my online shops are looking a little bare again- I'll hopefully get to uploading what's left tomorrow!  Thanks for hanging in with me while I sort out the photo up-load issues and have a great day!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Pre-wedding shoot jitters...

Truly, I did bite off a little more than I could chew when I took on the assignment of making cake plates and Tile frames in 3.5 weeks for a wedding magazine shoot in PINKS, creams and whites.  Pink, for those of you that understand anything about glazing, is actually a tricky colour to get for mid-range to high fire glazes.  I fire to a cone 6-7 and pink stain mostly burns off at this temperature.  3.5 weeks is not quite enough time to actually burn screens of my pattern ideas, wheel-throw and assemble cake plates, screenprint 'raspberry coloured' underglaze, dry and bisque fire the cake plates, make 2 new glazes, including one matt pink and one transparent pink glaze, test the glazes and then try to paint gold luster around the rims of the cake plates once they've been fired.  I will say that I ended up falling into the cardinal sin of completely winging it in the end, for lack of time.  And yes, one of the 2 pink glazes I committed to completely burned out and is now milky clear.  Not wanting to end this journey in tragedy, I've decided not to do the gold luster after-all.  Besides all the toxic fumes, I'm not sure I wanted to risk the gold looking 'brassy' or copper.  Finger's crossed that what I've made is what the stylist/photographer/editor were hoping for...

Cupcakes by CocoCakes- seriously, these melt in your mouth and are the best- not too crazy sweet, cupcakes I've ever had.  So pretty too!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Custom Orders

A few weeks ago I got an email about whether or not I make kitchen canisters, and while I've made lidded jars before, I hadn't really made canisters.  The taller of these will be for coffee, with the smaller holding tea- pretty, aren't they?  I just thought I'd show you the picture of my bottoms and lids- I trim feet on both my teapots and, in this case, the canisters so that the pots look like they are 'floating' on the counter top.  As a little detail the stems go all the way to the foot- which look so lovely when you turn it over.  Of course a really great fitting lid is a must...
For custom orders I always make an extra set, because you never know if something is going to go a little awry in the process.  And it's a good thing in this case too- I've still got a tall one in the cupboard with a stubborn lid that won't come off and a short one who's lid ended up being a bit to big- so it currently doesn't even have a lid. It's extra time to make the doubles, and frustrating when something doesn't turn out, but it's a huge relief to have a set ready to ship at the time I had estimated for the client!
I'm currently making a Poppy jug for a wedding present, but this time with the Turquoise blue and white with red poppies. It's great to have an excuse to play around with my designs based on someone else's request but taking custom orders can often be a challenge.  At the end of it all I'm always hopeful that it has turned out to the expectation of the person ordering it and that it didn't take so much time out of my regular work that it wasn't financially worth it.  In both these cases it hasn't felt that way so I'm pleased that I took the projects on.  And maybe I'll start making canisters or turquoise blue and poppy jugs from now on because of those requests!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Blim Monthly Market- the Inside scoop!

heyday designs by Claire Madill- loving the new beaver jar!

Wikkerink Design- belts and wallets made out of recycled bicycle tires would make a great gift for Dad's for Father's Day!
I'm all for a little cupcake now and again too- Coco Cake's will be at the market!  Remember to get there early- she always sells out really quick!

So the details again:  the Blim Spring Market- happening at Heritage Hall on Main street in Vancouver, from 11-4pm.  I'll be sharing a table with the lovely Amy again and there will be lots of handmade local lovelies to be had for Mother's Day, Father's Day, weddings, gifts and more!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's Tuesday!

April is flying by and I finally got a hold of those photos I took over the Easter weekend that we had lost on my sister's computer!  I had really wanted to share some of them on my blog, so I'll be posting a few in the coming days. 

A little link love for starters... Maria from Hold has an interview on Scout Magazine and she was kind enough to do a little mention of my blog at the end of her interview! You can check out Maria's felted bowls on her Etsy shop- I featured her work on my blog when she first set it up!  I'm looking forward to meeting Maria in person at the Blim Community Market this Sunday (11-4 at Heritage Hall).  Always great to put a face to a name!

On a business note, I finally filed my taxes for 2009.  As a 'small business owner' filing taxes can be a challenge. I think the most frustrating part of the book-keeping end of things is figuring out which expenses go under which category on the actual tax form and sorting out what my 'cost of goods sold' really is.  I'm not really a numbers kind of gal and to try to sort out roughly the cost of the material and the cost of selling an item... well let's just say I get a little dizzy thinking about those things.  Every year when I do all the math I get a bit depressed.  I know that it's best for me to pay as little tax as possible, however it is hard not to let the after-expenses take-home amount get to me. I've been reminded though that at least the number wasn't in the minus. Hmmm.

With that positive frame of mind, I will say that my Canadian House & Home feature has been a great way to re-connect with people I haven't been in touch with in YEARS!  It's amazing how every few days I get an email or even a letter or phone call from an old friend who saw me in the magazine and wanted to say hi again!  It's brought me back to remembering why I do what I do and how my original concept of connection in art and life has come full circle.  I think originally I felt as though I was the one reaching out to connect the two, now it's the other way around.  I'm very thank full to still be on this journey of making work. It's a labour of love, that's for sure! 

Monday, April 19, 2010

fresh, fresh, very fresh

I have a couple of special projects on the go that I've been keeping pretty low-pro on these days.  However, I'm not always great at keeping secrets when I'm happy with the results so this will have to be enough for now.  The 'icing on the cake' will be the gold luster that it's currently waiting for...
And in other news- fresh out of the kiln is my new ModernPop Teapot in Blue and White.  I had made on in Black and White if you remember, and have made 'similar' mugs and espresso cups with brown and reds and blues- so here's me playing with colour and really loving the results. 
Another firing to go this week with more fresh work to come:)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Inspiration #4: Pacific Northwest Rainforest Birds

 A recent trip to the Ecology Center at Lynn Canyon for this inspirational moment... we will see where it leads! I do like to use birds in my work but know that the bird trend has been a little over-saturated at times.  But then I get up-close to an owl or canary and I'm smitten again.  BTW the birds under glass at the Ecology Center supposedly died of natural causes.  And when Sasha was looking on the forest floor for bugs for our nature walk he found a dead baby bird.  I guess the recent storms we've been having knocked that little one out of it's nest. 
A little bit about Lynn Canyon.  Please check out the link- it's got a virtual tour of the park, which has a Suspension Bridge and beautiful tall rainforest trees.  We live about 10 minutes away from the park and try to go as often as possible. It's become the latest tourist trap in summer- since it's free to go on the suspension bridge it's 'Vancouver's best kept secret that's gotten out'.  Hopefully they keep it free for years to come.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Small kitty

Small kitty finds tight spaces to fit into.  Sometimes we think we've lost her outside because we can't seem to find her anywhere.  Eventually she wakes up and comes out of no where looking for food.    Look how little she is now compared to my 7 year old son...

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Blim Spring Markets

Well April is flying by and the Blim Community Market is coming up again on Sunday, April 25th from 11-4pm at the Heritage Hall in Vancouver.  Here are a few candid shots from the March Market- a new Ginko Stem Cake Plate with a sweet bird and some of the kid's line of ceramics that I've been making in the owl and bird design. 
The whole Blim experience was really refreshing for me- it was a great vibe, laid-back and friendly! It was great to connect again with people and nice to visit with Amy from down home amy, who I don't often get to see since we no longer share a studio.  We're sharing a table again in April so come by if you are in the neighbourhood! I have 2 kiln-loads of work coming out of the studio in the next 2 weeks and Mother's Day is coming up really soon...

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Cheaper Show 9


The Cheaper Show No. 9 from The Cheaper Show on Vimeo.
My good friend Fiona texted me the other night from the launch party to let me know that I (specifically my paintings) got into the 9th annual 'Cheaper Show' here in Vancouver.  Out of 950 artists internationally, the show curates only 200 artists to be part of the show and being included is a total honour. 400 pieces of art by 200 different artists for $200 each is the concept of the show.  Check out the video- it's pretty great at describing the concept and idea behind the show!
The Cheaper Show
June 26, 2010
Place/Times: TBA
- Up-date: The 'rumour's' been confirmed! You can find me here.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Vancouver Etsy Shop Local: April 9/10


Owl Nesting Set- from the Great Grey Owl to the Smallest Saw Wet Owl by SavageArtworks
 Beach Fun vintage photograph from Drawing Room.

I'm off to the studio for the day.  For those of you with special orders- they are all coming along really well- going in the bisque kiln this weekend and being glazed next week!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

kitten love

We've been spending the last couple of days getting to know our new little kitten.  Still haven't agreed on a name but my boys are loving playing, watching and holding her. 
Name suggestions would be much appreciated:)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

My debut book publishing...

I guess April is my month to be published;  I just got word that the 'Ceramics Today' by Shiffer Publishing is finally ready and soon to be on bookstore shelves!  It looks like a great coffee table book for the ceramic enthusiast. With over 120 ceramic artists from around the world, I would hope to find a good mix of familiar and new work, including 4 (or so) images of my work photographed by the amazing Curtis Hildebrand! (If ever you needed a reason to hire a professional photographer to shoot your work, here's one of my many reasons- your photographs could be good enough to get published in books!)

You can purchase the book here for $50!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

wild lilies and inspiration #3

We had a great Easter weekend catching up with friends and family!  Unfortunately I ended up losing all my photographs from the weekend on my sister's computer just before we left for home from the Island...
I did manage to grab a few photos of these lovely wild lilies and started searching for some inspiration to go with the photos.  Of course these lovely vintage Easter-lily cards came up in my search, a little after the weekend, but nonetheless, appropriate for the season!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Happy Easter

A few candid pics from last year's Easter weekend.  I'm looking forward to some more Paska from my mom (Easter sweet bread) and a few chocolate treats from my favourite local chocolate maker and possibly trying out some Easter egg decorations and  dyeing tricks via Martha Stewart.... Wishing you all a great weekend!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Inspiration #2

Wouldn't this 'doily' design look lovely on a cake plate? Again from the NYPL Image library...